Author's Note: Really, violets aren't blue since you'd think they'd be called "blues" if that were the case. :) And, yes, that is the best I could do for a title! XD
The stories included in this series are all Denny yaoi pairing one-shots, so if you don't like guy love, please don't write me a mean and nasty review. Most of these can also be interpreted as friendship stories, anyway...
I'll be writing these in the order of the most to the least amount of votes from my last poll (now closed), so please enjoy the first installment!
Disclaimer: I don't HM or any of its characters. I just like to pair them up. X3
"Goddess... it's really piling up out there," a young man muttered as his bright, green eyes gazed out the front window onto his property. Winter had only just settled in on the island, but snow had already blanketed the entire town seemingly overnight. Although most may have found the sight to be filled with the magic of purity and innocence, the farmer was less than impressed. Yes, it was certainly beautiful, but for someone who worked the land for a living, he was having a hard time welcoming the new season during which it was near impossible to grow crops, his main source of income. It also didn't help his opinion towards this time of year any that he wouldn't have much in his fridge, either, until the spring thaw.
As if right on cue, his stomach growled in bitter agreement, and he clamped a hand tightly over the unusually angry spot.
"Oh, quiet you," he scolded half-heartedly before sighing in defeat. "I should be getting to bed then, I guess..." he mumbled, running his calloused fingers through a tuft of blonde hair that poked out from under his hat. Even though he knew it was only seven, he had to at least hope sleep would keep his mind off of his hunger pains. He couldn't very well fix himself dinner that evening since he had nothing to cook in the first place. He'd heard once that some people chose not to eat for days on end for religious purposes, but in his mind, he felt like no true god would will this upon the faithful. It was almost maddening...
The lonely nights were more than enough to make him completely pitiful without having to starve himself to be sure he could still make ends meet. Regardless, he was sick of both situations in his life as a bachelor... a shipwrecked one at that.
It was only fair to admit, though, that he'd been the one to chose to stay on the island after some... gentle persuasion from the old man who'd become his mentor. He had to smile as he recalled his first impressions of the elder as nothing more than a crazed man in denial that he was getting into his later years, but now he no longer felt that way. The man had once been a skilled farmer, so he happened to find a bit of solid advice in the other's seemingly endless ramblings. Maybe that's all that had been keeping him going through to this point.
However, tonight he wasn't interested in dwelling on anything other than a good night's sleep to quiet his stomach, and he quickly began readying himself for bed. Although he usually preferred to sleep in his boxers, there was a rather distinct chill in the air, and he decided it'd be best to wear his flannel pajamas instead. They might have been old, which was rather obvious since their blue color had faded considerably, but they were the best he could do. It didn't even matter if they had a hole in the seat of them... just as long as they kept him warm on a cold winter's evening.
For what he hoped would be the last time, another angry rumble rippled through his small body, but he ignored it while tucking himself into bed. His blankets weren't all that comforting at first, yet soon enough the warmth began to settle in around him reassuringly. His thoughts faded out into a soothing silence in his weary mind, and after he let himself calm down a bit more, his breaths became smooth and even in sleep.
It was a short lived peace, though, before there was a loud banging at his front door.
At first, he refused to go answer it since he was understandably bitter towards his unwelcome visitor, but the pounding became increasingly insistent. Finally giving into defeat, the farmer dragged himself out of the pleasant warmth of his bed and back into the numbing cold of his small shack, muttering curses under his breath while he held himself close to stop his teeth from chattering. There was another forceful knock, and he snapped irritably, "I'm coming, dammit!"
Just as he slammed open the door, he was face to face with a bewildered young man, and once he realized who it was, his glare was even more livid. It was the local fisherman... again. "Denny," he grumbled, "should I bother to ask why the hell you're here?"
"Aw, come on, Mark," the other complained, shifting his feet. "Can't you at least interrogate me inside?" His host merely raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest while he leaned casually against the doorpost. "Don't be like that..." he whined pitifully. He often came to the farm house during the winter since he claimed his own shack was in even worse condition, but the blonde was getting tired of these increasingly frequent visits. "Kuu's the one I'm worried about... not me," he explained as he motioned to the small, black mass of sleek feathers tucked in his plaid, purple jacket.
"Fine," the farmer relented with a cruel grin, "he can come in, but you have to stay out here." Of course he was only teasing, but the expression on his guest wore was almost too much. His entire face had fallen, and his mouth was slightly agape, unable to form a reply. Mark chuckled to himself and stepped out of the way to let the young man inside, "Get in here then and quit heating the outdoors," he scolded gently, shaking his head as he tried to understand how someone could've taken his remark seriously.
"Why do you have to be like that?" Denny mumbled, shoving his fists deep into his jeans' pockets while he sulked. He was offered a seat which he told unceremoniously by plopping down and resting his feet on the table. A wet puddle immediately began to form under the heels of his rubber boots, but he didn't seem to notice the other man's disapproving glare. Either that or he simply didn't give a shit... It was always hard to tell with the free spirited fisherman.
"Mind if I ask why you're here with a winter storm coming in?" Mark asked at last. Although he knew his friend could be strange at times, he doubted he was an idiot by any means. However, it wouldn't have been the first time he'd gone and done something stupid. After all, the fool had once told him that he'd caught sharks before in deeper waters.
Of course that could've been just another fisherman's tale...
"Because it didn't look like it was going to hit earlier," he explained with a shrug. "Wouldn't be the first time bad weather put me out for the day, though..." The farmer rolled his eyes at the other's casual ways since he was certain the young man would wind up dead one day due to his reckless nature. He never even considered the consequences of his rash actions most of the time, and that was just waiting for disaster. Mark supposed it was a result of Denny really having no one else to live for except himself.
He'd only mentioned it once before, but both of his parents had lost their lives during an ocean storm. Like the young man sitting across from him, he'd survived the shipwreck by landing on the shore of a nearby island while his folks were dragged further out to sea. Although he'd been separated from them, he'd said he could still remember hearing his mother's cries, and his brown eyes would always grow distant as he recalled the horrific memory from his earlier days. He never did explain why he chose to continue following their clearly perilous lifestyle, though...
"You eat yet?" Denny asked suddenly, snapping his host out of his dreary thoughts. Summoned once again, Mark's stomach protested angrily to have been ignored for so long. His pale cheeks flushed while his friend laughed, slapping his hand on the table in his amusement. "I guess not..." he snickered, wiping away a tear though he was still smiling broadly.
"Well," the farmer shot back, "I would've if there was anything to eat here." To make his point perfectly clear, he stormed over to his cupboards and began slamming them open for his visitor to see. The other raised an eyebrow to see that everything was, indeed, completely bare except for a roll of tin foil and a couple empty garbage bags, yet then he shook his head in dismay. His unruly chocolate curls tumbled out from under his loosely tied purple bandanna as he did so, but he didn't bother to readjust it. He simply stood and strode towards his friend.
"That's no good..." he agreed, beginning to take off his jacket. Mark opened his mouth to speak once again until a bundle was handed off to him. Inside he could see a small bird staring up at him in bewilderment, and as his owner had said, the poor creature was shivering something awful. "Watch Kuu for me, and I'll be right back," the brunette instructed before he turned on his heel and headed for the door.
"Are you going to be okay out there?" the farmer protested, cradling the trembling bundle like an infant. His green eyes were filled with concern, but the man merely smiled gratefully at him.
Denny assured his friend calmly, "Yeah, I'll be alright, so you don't have to worry. Just make sure Kuu gets warmed up..." Once Mark gave him a sharp nod, he walked out into the snow again, and the one who'd been left behind sighed in defeat.
Gazing down at the small bird, he asked himself why the other cared so dearly for it. Although he had to admit Kuu was rather cute in his own way, especially when he was mimicking the sailor's expressions, he didn't really understand the man's devotion to him. Maybe it was because Denny was the one to save him during a typhoon, or perhaps he was simply tired of leading a lonely life at sea. However, his love for him was most likely a result of the fisherman having no one else after his parents' deaths.
Yes, Mark agreed with a sad smile, that would explain it... As if Kuu had read the young man's mind, his beady black eyes shown with understanding, and he returned his sorrow with his own pitiful gaze. "Will you take care of him for me, Kuu?" he asked the small bird. I really do worry about him sometimes, he admitted to himself even though the little penguin knew it perfect well already. The bundle of feathers nodded in simply agreement, and the farmer actually sighed with relief. "Thanks..." he mumbled.
Just as he'd promised, Denny soon returned to the shack, and although he was shaking something awful, he proudly lifted up a string of fish for his host to see. "Sorry I took a little longer than expected," he apologized with a weak laugh, "but it's hard to hurry when you're ass is almost frozen clear off." He laid the fish out on the counter before he turned to smile warming towards his friends.
"It's a wonder you didn't freeze to death," Mark admonished him gently while cradling Kuu in one arm and handing his friend a blanket with his free hand. His brow was furrowed fretfully, and his jaw was rigid with worry. His troubled expression actually made the fisherman chuckle to himself which made the blonde stare blankly at the other in confusion. "What's so funny?" he asked casually.
"Mark, you sound like you're my wife," Denny replied with a cheeky grin. Instantly, the young farmer's cheeks were burning a bright red, and for a moment, he was rendered absolutely speechless while he struggled to find the words to protest. His guest merely laughed before he took the blanket from his outstretched hand and then patted him on the head. "Although if you were my wife, you'd have to lose those pajamas of yours," he continued to tease his flustered companion.
"Well then, what should I wear?" the other shot back before he could stop himself. The two fell into an awkward silence as they both blinked in surprise, but soon enough the fisherman was grinning broadly once more.
"Since you're so curious," he began with a laugh, "I think you'd look pretty damn good in a silk nighty..."
The farmer's jaw dropped as he heard the reply, but he quickly shook it off as best he could. However, he couldn't rid himself of the embarrassment altogether even though the brunette was still chuckling. "Isn't it a little... weird that you decided that so quickly?" he growled, trying to mask his own uncertainty about the fellow in front of him.
"Aw, come on," Denny replied, rolling his eyes, "you know I was just kidding you." Despite his owner's words, Mark caught Kuu shaking his head in reply, and suddenly it was the young man's turn to smile since he felt he'd been let in on what might be a rather... interesting secret.
"He doesn't think so, apparently," he remarked calmly, nodding to the bundle still wrapped up in his arms. The fisherman's tanned cheeks flared immediately, and he shot his first mate a stern glare which caused the small bird to glance away sheepishly. He coughed nervously before he turned to begin working in the kitchen. "Aren't you going to say anything?" Mark pressed earnestly.
"No," he snapped back. There's no way in hell... he added in his own mind although he felt his friend's eyes settling on him uncomfortably. He chose to ignore his growing discomfort and swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, but he could still sense that the other wasn't completely convinced. He sighed heavily for a second time and glanced over his shoulder to see Mark staring at him questionably, but he didn't bother to defend himself. What was the point? He didn't give a shit about others' opinions of him... not at all...
"Don't you need to clean those first?" Mark asked, motioning towards the fish splayed out on his counter. Luckily, his rather obvious attempt to change the subject went unnoticed as he tapped into the fisherman's main interest, and he breathed a sigh of relief to know his plan had worked. There were some benefits to his friend's seemingly one-track mind, after all.
"Yeah..." Denny agreed wistfully, relieved to have the tension dissipate. Then he suddenly perked right back up to his usual, cheerful self, and he rattled on as if the previous, awkward conversation hadn't even occurred. Although his host was happy to see this change in attitude, he also couldn't shake the feeling that he was a little too eager. Almost like he was hiding something... "Have you ever cleaned a fish?"
"Umm..." the farmer cringed as his green eyes widened at the thought of the rather gruesome procedure. Honestly, how could anyone be at ease while dicing up something that had been living only moments ago. Well... he thought as he glanced at the fish in their frozen state, I don't think they'll be feeling anything anytime soon, I guess...
"I'll take that as a no," Denny laughed, motioning for the other to join him. Kuu immediately seemed to perk up as well with the familiar sights and smells that he'd grown to know and love during a life at sea, and after he nearly squirmed right out of Mark's arms, the young man finally set him down on the counter beside his owner. The small bird's eyes shown with excitement until the shipmates grinned at one another eagerly. Their host inwardly shivered to see the almost sadistic smiles they brandished since they seemed to take a little too much pleasure in the task at hand.
"The first thing you've got to do," the fisherman continued, "is decide what you're gonna do with it. You can grill or bake 'em, but I like to fry myself... There's a different procedure for each, so you don't want to waste any of it." The blonde nodded weakly, cringing as the man wielded a dull knife. He immediately began scraping at the scales which made the other wince again due to the grating sound of the flesh being shaved away. "Don't worry," the brunette reassured him, "he won't feel a thing. After all, look at his eyes."
Mark had to glance away at the mere thought of peering into the clouded gaze of the creature, but the fisherman simply laughed and kept rattling on instructions.
"Just take your knife and cut right behind the gills," he explained casually as he did so. Unfortunately, Denny hadn't mentioned one major detail in his technique, and the poor farmer nearly fainted when the fish's inner contents made an unwelcome appearance. The crimson that had seeped out onto his pure white countertop mortified him, yet his guest was completely unfazed, having seen it countless times before. He simply let Kuu clean up after him which caused the blonde to nearly heave, regardless of the empty state of his stomach.
"I-I've got to sit down..." Mark mumbled, turning abruptly on his heel and making a dash for the restroom. His friend just chuckled to himself and rolled his eyes while he watched him scurry off.
"Think he's still hungry?" he asked Kuu with a mischievous grin. The small bird shook his head in amusement, and they both shared a good laugh until they heard the unappetizing sounds coming from the direction that their host had fled. Glancing at one another, they involuntarily shivered in unison and tried to concentrate on their work.
Even for them, the idea of eating fish had just become rather distasteful...
"Well, it's not so bad," Mark admitted after taking a small bite of the pan fried fillet on his plate. Although his friend had insisted that it would be delicious, he was surprised to find it tasted absolutely... heavenly. Sure, it was a simple recipe, but since he hadn't eaten so well in a considerable amount of time, he was more than grateful for a solid meal. He immediately launched himself into an feeding frenzy following his first morsel.
"See? I told you it'd be easier once I lopped off their heads," Denny chuckled, propping his foot on the edge of the table as he leaned back in his chair. "It's the eyes that seem to get to most people," he added while picking his teeth clean with a sharp, leftover bone.
"About that..." the farmer murmured, his mouth still rather full. "What'd you do with them? I don't want my house smelling like rotten fish, you know."
"Don't worry," the other assured him, motioning towards the bird that was perched on his shoulder. "Kuu took care of them." The blonde's entire face blanched and he tried to swallow as he thought about the bundle of feathers actually eating that part of the fish's remains, but his visitor was completely unfazed by the idea. "He had to eat something," the man explained, and both sailors shrugged casually at the same time like it was nothing.
"He already ate..." his host reminded him, thinking back on the other unsavory parts that had made their way down the bird's gluttonous throat. He shivered to imagine the texture of those nasty bits. He would never understand how anything could possibly stomach things of that nature, but he supposed it didn't really matter. As long as he didn't have to go about eating it, he should be able to handle someone else doing the honors for him. At least it made the clean up that much easier in the end...
"You'd be surprised how much he needs to eat," Denny replied, "but it's worth it to see him happy, you know?" Kuu nuzzled affectionately into his cheek to hear this, and he returned the gesture while cooing gently to his little friend. Mark smiled softly to see his companion's tenderness towards the bird, but soon enough he began to clear away the dishes, leaving them to their sweet assurances to one another.
Once he did so, he heard the man's chair scoot back while it dragged across the hardwood floor, and he realized his guests were about to leave. However, it only took a glance out the window for him to decide that he wouldn't stand for it. "Hey," he ordered just as the other was pulling on his jacket, "you can't go out in this weather!"
"Why not?" the brunette demanded, tucking Kuu into the front of his coat for warmth. "My place isn't that far from here..."
"Did you even look outside?" Mark argued, motioning to the blizzard that raged just beyond the windowpane. Indeed, they could all hear the wind hollowing furiously, and it was nothing less than a whiteout, being that neither of them could even see more than a foot in front of the house. Although he was no stranger to storms, Denny had to admit it would be insanity to try and brave one such as this. He sighed in defeat, and he began to unzip his flannel jacket once again.
"Got anything I can wear for the night?" Denny asked at last. When his host shook his head apologetically, he gave another heavy sigh and rolled his eyes. "I guess I'll manage," he reassured the other with a smile.
"Are you alright with sharing a bed?" the farmer mumbled, glancing down at his slippers as his cheeks warmed. It wasn't like he'd forgotten their earlier conversation before dinner, so he was a little apprehensive to have the other in such close proximity. However, he felt his heart fall slightly when he heard his overnight guest's alternative.
"I could always sleep on the floor," he offered. There was no hurt in his voice, but Mark couldn't help feeling guilty for being so... paranoid. If he was a real man, he could handle having his good friend share his bed, or so he told himself, anyway. It didn't matter that he was another guy... He could handle a single night, and besides, hadn't he been feeling lonely lately? He finally shook his head to rid himself of his last thought, motioning for the other to get into bed first.
Even though Denny raised an eyebrow, he complied and started shedding his clothes casually. He simply began by kicking off his boots before whipping off his towel from around his neck, and he left both articles of his clothing strewn about lazily in a trail behind him. Mark frowned and picked up after him as he did so. However, as he heard the man's belt buckle hit the floor, the blonde's entire face was flushed with embarrassment. "What are you doing?"
"Have you ever tried sleeping in jeans?" the fisherman countered with a grin, slipping off his pants effortlessly much to his host's discomfort. "It doesn't exactly feel too good," he remarked as Kuu, who continued to sit perched on his shoulder, chuckled in agreement.
Denny's just another guy... the farmer reminded himself. He told you he was joking earlier, so relax. Nodding to assure himself that this was the case, he smiled at his friend and replied, "Yeah, I guess you're right." Right then, he glanced up to see the boxers the man was sporting were a striking violet, and his memories of his being teased in mercilessly in Junior High for the same thing came back to haunt. He tried to disguise his adolescent prejudices when he asked, "Why do you wear so much... purple?"
The brunette simply blinked in bewilderment before he smiled softly, and at first, Mark was worried that he might have offended him. However, the reply was straight to the point, and it didn't show any signs of him being hurt by the seemingly innocent question. "Because my old man was the one to give me this bandanna, I guess," he explained, tugging at the fabric of the same faded hue restraining his unruly curls, "Does it really matter, though?"
"I guess not," Mark fibbed, a bit too quickly. The other's warm gaze didn't question him further, but for good measure, he added, "I was just curious is all."
"Satisfied then?" Denny laughed as he whipped the covers back. The blonde nodded and made his way to his side of the bed while the fisherman stretched himself out for the night. His back popped a few times, causing the farmer to flinch, but the man merely sighed and brought the blanket over him like it was nothing to concern himself with. Kuu had already hoped off of his shoulder, and he'd nestled himself in the pillow just above his captain's head.
Luckily, he was a bit smaller in build than his friend, and Mark was able to slip in easily beside him without getting too close for comfort. He was actually grateful now that he'd let himself get talked into buying a big bed after expanding his home.
What he still didn't understand was why Chen had curiously displayed a blue feather in his shop when he, or anyone else on the island, wasn't involved with someone at the moment.
"Good night, buddy," the brunette said with a yawn. Almost immediately after he'd settled into the covers and closed his eyes, Mark could feel the other's breath rise and fall evenly through the mattress, and he assumed his guest had already fallen asleep. He chuckled quietly to himself at this before rolling over with his back facing the other man. However, just as he was about to drift off to sleep himself, he suddenly found he was being held gently around his small waist.
His head snapped around to find that Denny had cozied up to him, and although he tried to pull away, he found that the other's grip was too secure. He glanced above the man's soundly sleeping form to see Kuu smirking in their direction, and while it was in the deep darkness of the evening, he swore he saw the bird wiggle his eyebrows knowingly at them. Since he was clearly helpless to prevent the fisherman from snuggling even closer to him, almost spooning him in the process, Mark could only sigh in defeat and try to rest easy.
This was going to be a long night...
Author's Note: He he, sorry for making Mark a little homophobic, but I still think it's cute. What better reason to put him that sort of situation! X3
Oh, and of course Kuu is well-aware of Denny's interests even if he's not willing to admit to them. ;)
Next up will be Vaughn, but it'll be a bit of a challenge since unlike our lil' fisherman, I have a hard time putting him in a yaoi relationship. Unless you count yunakitty's Brokeback Island... (Yes, that's a shameless plug on my part for you to read it!)